While the old adage “It doesn’t rain grass” comes to mind this week, especially given we have now hit the first day of summer. However, it does quite often rain confidence, and it would seem the recent falls across the east have done just that for the cattle market, with most categories headed in a positive direction, and restockers seemingly getting back in the game.

The restocker yearling steer indicator lifted nearly 50¢/kg this week, a jump of about 120¢/kg (or 57%) for the month, landing it at 340¢/kg. Whilst it is still 170¢/kg lower year on year, this is the highest price the indicator has reached since the end of May. Pretty much all of the throughput has come from Queensland this week, with Blackall, Roma, and Dalby contributing over half the numbers. The National Livestock Reporting Service reported yearling steers returning to the paddock out of the Dalby yards as up by more than 70¢/kg, while at the monthly Blackall store restockers paid to 382¢/kg for light steers. Restockers paid between 60¢/kg and 100¢/kg more at Roma.

Staying in Queensland, the Australian northern cattle feeder price lifted 37¢/kg this week according to Argus Meat and Livestock, with reports that lotfeeders were having to return to the saleyards as cattle were hard to obtain in the paddock now some producers had the confidence to hold onto them. Argus’ northern feeder price has risen 40%, in the past four weeks, landing at 311¢/kg currently. Nationally, the feeder steer indicator picked up nearly 50¢/kg just this week but still sits below the northern price at 292¢/kg. Again, well below the same time last year, but the strongest it has been since August.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has had the biggest improvement this week, climbing 78¢/kg to 563¢/kg, a jump of nearly 200¢/kg this month and back to a similar level as July. Again, it was Roma and Dalby that had the highest throughput for the EYCI this week, and both traded well above the average, at 661¢/kg and 600¢/kg respectively. Feeders took the most EYCI-eligible stock, averaging 543¢/kg for theirs, while restockers paid a premium, averaging 620¢/kg. Processors only took home a handful and paid just 471¢/kg for theirs. 

The week ahead….

Despite the rain this week, yardings remained strong, lifting 43% on the previous week and up 35% year-on-year, showing supply isn’t slowing. Slaughter fell by about 4000 head the week prior but was still well up on the same time last year.

With only three full working weeks left for the year, it will be interesting to watch slaughter levels through to the end of the year, especially if restockers and feeders keep amping up the competition.

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Data sources: MLA,Argus, Mecardo

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